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Living Measured in Bronze, Silver, and Gold

June 16, 2023


One of the first things Garth Barfoot wanted when he retired was a place he could happily walk as far away from as he could each day…and then back.


As patriarch of iconic real estate firm Barfoot & Thompson, he certainly had an edge when finding that perfect location at Bert Sutcliffe Retirement Village. Situated in Birkenhead, it’s close to all the parks, beaches and local landmarks he’s used to traversing. Allowing him to get his precious training miles in, to and from the village.


He’s an extremely fit and active man who is now focusing his mind on pursuing his passion of competing in marathons. He’s completed the big ones around the globe, chasing those gold, silver, and bronze medals.


Exercising the mind and body

While most 87-year-olds might be kicking their feet up and enjoying some well-earned rest after a successful career, you’ll instead find him pounding the pavements of Birkenhead while training. That’s if you can keep up with him. He’s currently covering 15 km a day. Old mans enthusiasm he calls it.



Ryman resident Garth Barfoot on his daily walk.


Making dollars and sense

With 40 years in the real estate game, he knows all the ins and outs of the housing market and what a sound investment looks like. Funnily enough, his move into a retirement village was the first house he and wife Judy bought. Their first and only home was a property they built in Beach Haven way back when they got engaged. A four-bedroom coastal property with the most stunning views. It is something he said should be expected if you were an agent by trade.


Their recent move into a retirement apartment made financial and practical sense. “You buy and sell on the same market. In this climate many people have never experienced a decline in house prices. Remember, you may sell at a lower price than expected, but you also end up buying at a lower price too. You don’t want to be caught selling without a property to move into.”


In Garths experience, when downsizing from a house to an apartment you'd usually spend the same amount you sold your house for. So, he was more than happy when his Bert Sutcliffe village apartment only cost him half that price. Now, with costs fixed for life they’re resting easy following their other passions.



Garth and wife Judy take in their balcony view.


Family life and happy wife

Their children, who live in Auckland, were overjoyed about them moving into a smaller place with big opportunities. They visit often and are pleased their parents have found somewhere they can spend precious time with each other. Garth’s just happy he can reach across to the dining room table and grab a second helping of dinner without having a long walk to the kitchen.


He’s adamant he’d never go back. “It’s terrific living here. When I open that door it’s like going to a resort, our lovely corner unit has plenty of light. You immediately feel like you’re on holiday.”


The words of a true real estate agent, but that’s a former life. This new one as a marathoner means it’s time to go and so he’s off again. There’s still another five kms of training to fit in before it gets dark.